Royal Reels: Gambling


This advertising cover from The Windsor Magazine has an interesting ‘stamp collar’ which reads ‘BUSIEST, BRIGHTEST & BEST/ MON 6THLY’ for placementof the violet 2d Victoriastamp which is postmarked with the double circle MELBOURNE/ PM/ 4 30/ 29 3 00/ 14. It is addressed to Revd S.G. Fielding, St Matthew’s Parsonage, Windsor, N.S.W. (Figure 1).

The Windsor Magazine was one of the best British literary magazines which was subscribed to by middle-class educated Australians, and it cost 6d monthly, as suggested on the cover, when first issued in 1895. However, by 1897 the price was one shilling, so that this Victorian cover posted in 1900 was inaccurate as regards the price of the monthly issue. The Windsor Magazine An Illustrated Monthly for Men and Women was produced by Ward, Lock and Company, Limited, Warwick House, Salisbury Square,London E.C. and the last issue was in 1939. The front cover of the first issue in January 1895 is shown in Figure 2.

It had a large coterie of famous authors over the years of short stories, poems and illustrations, both original lithographs and artwork. The issues were often bound every six months and the volume could contain more than 700 pages. A reproduction of part of an article concerning ‘Manly: The Brighton of Australia’,written and illustrated by Harry Furniss, which appeared in the September 1898 issue, is seen in Figure 3.

The quality of the presentation was sullied by the advertisements which one would not expect in a magazine such as The Strand with which the Windsor Magazine has been compared, as shown in Figure 4.

Initially, more could be found concerning St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Windsor N.S.W. than about Reverend Fielding. This church is the oldest Anglican Church in Australia, and the second oldest of any denomination after the small Uniting Church, nearby at Ebenezer. Governor Macquarie who ordered the building to be erected believed that religion was an important element for all classes of people and for the betterment of the colony. The building (actually the fourth on the site) was designed by the convict Francis Greenaway, who directed the building of the new church himself. It was completed with speed and skill and was sufficiently advanced to be available for church services in September, 1821. It was consecrated the next year by Reverend Samuel Marsden, the principal chaplain of the colony.

The structure of the building, with the exception of the south porch, which was on the original plans but not added until 1857, has remained virtually untouched since its construction. The church was architecturally far superior to any of the essentially utilitarian buildings already constructed in the colony which were haphazard, uncontrolled and “cobbled up by amateurs.” A picture of the church and graveyard are seen in Figure 5.

Sydney Glanville Fielding was a native of N.S.W., educated at the Moore Theological College, Liverpool N.S.W., prizeman 1881-2 with an English Essay Prize in 1882. He became the minister at Blayney in 1882, Coonamble 1883-84, and of St. Matthew’s Church at Windsor in 1883 at a stipend of £300 including his house; he held this latter position until 1904. He held many church positions including chaplain of Moorecliff Hospital, Sydney; Hon. Chaplain Naval Forces; minister at St. Matthias, Paddington up to 1924, when he retired, and at Victoria Barracks, Sydney. He was an eloquent preacher and lecturer, popular with ministers of other faiths, and was well known as an author of several works of fiction, some of which had a large circulation. The last known entry for Reverend Fielding in the Sydney Diocesan Directory was in 1930. A picture of Reverend Fielding in the Sydney Mail newspaper, dated 8 June 1904, is seen in Figure 6.

More was learnt of Fielding from an entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography about one of his children, Dr. Una Lucy Fielding (1888-1969). She was born in Wellington N.S.W. the eldest of five surviving children of Fielding and his wife, Lucy Frances, née Johnson. Una, a graduate of Sydney University Medical School in 1922, became a well-known neuro-anatomist in Sydney. One of his sons, Morris Glanville Fielding was wounded in World War One, awarded the M.C. in 1916, and was also a minister at St. Matthias, Paddington in 1920-24.

I am indebted to Wendy Holtz, Information Request Service, State Library of N.S.W. for several extracts from the Sydney Diocesan Directory, 1900, 1911,1926 and 1930.